Category Archives: 2011 PROJECTS

Hello, Kitty

I make piles. Lots of piles. I have one for new patterns that I have to sew, one for favorite patterns that I want to sew again, magazines and books with projects that I want to tackle, fabrics that I’m intending on working with next… you get the idea. Sometimes, things get pushed onto the back burner and sit for ages. This Hello Kitty fabric was one of those things that I’ve been meaning to get to, but still never have. One thing that kept me from using it was the lack of the ‘ideal pattern.’ However, at the last pattern sale, something caught my eye, Simplicity 2317 – its exactly what I had been looking for: knit ‘boxers’ with a shirt (and even a tank option!). Consequently, this is my next project! Here’s all the details below:

Project Details:

Pattern: Simplicity 2317

Hello Kitty cotton jersey from The Fabric Fairy

Materials & Cost:

1972 Review

First off, I’m going to apologize for the horrible photo of my latest project… Easton dropped our camera rendering it useless so I’m stuck using my phone (note to self: my next phone purchase will include a fantastic camera built in) until we buy a new one. With that said, I am finished with my Simplicity top! So, what did I think about this Sew Simple pattern? It’s, o.k. Let me explain further:

I think what makes these patterns “Sew Simple” is that there isn’t a lot inside the package – one look (no options length, etc.), simple closures (i.e. elastic waists instead of fitted), and lots of ease (so little to no fitting). The directions are simple to follow, but don’t expect any additional tips or tricks on working with the material, etc. (I’m thinking you’ll probably have to select a Sewing for Dummies pattern if you’re looking for that). I will say that I think Simplicity’s “Sew Simple” pattern line is much more on trend than their “It’s So Easy” collection – not just the pattern envelope design (which reminds me of the original Built by Wendy series), but the garments themselves. 1972 is a perfect example, it has a modern shape, fabric belt (very hot right now), and cute sleeve detailing. However, what kills it for me is how it draws too much attention to your waist area. See all that fabric in the sleeves? A lot of that gets gathered into the waistline and makes a pooch right around your midsection. An easy solution would be to wear the belt lower, but since this top is on the short side, wearing it lower would mean right around the hem line so that doesn’t work either. My solution? Wearing this top slightly off the shoulder so you line of sight is drawn upward. Because the neckline of this top is fairly large, it works without looking stretched out, plus I think it gives it a more modern look, too. Overall, not a bad pattern, but I don’t think I see myself making it again.

Sew Simple

It’s been quite some time since I’ve used a Simplicity pattern. A few years ago, I stopped wearing them (aside from costumes, I feel like Simplicity has more options) because they never did fit right without lots of alterations. More recently, Simplicity has come out with a ‘new’ line called Sew Simple – an easy to sew collection that has some ‘trendy’ looks, so I thought I would give one a try. I decided on 1972, a “peasant-style”, knit shirt with a tie belt and fun sleeve ‘detailing’. I think this design is a fun look that can be dressed up or down and a perfect style for fall. I searched my stash and decided on a pretty purple jersey that has wonderful drape – which is going to be important with this style so I don’t look like I’m ‘expecting’. I can’t wait to get started! Anyone else testing out this pattern line?

Project Details:

Pattern: Simplicity 1972

Purple cotton jersey from Sew Much

Materials & Cost:


I finally had the opportunity to finish my Scientific Seamstress bowling shirt. Even though I wound up not following all the instructions, it was probably one of the easiest button down shirts I’ve ever put together (and definitely would have been even easier if I would have done everything outlined in her directions). Unfortunately, Easton likes the idea of wearing this shirt, but won’t keep this shirt on for more than 30 seconds (which it why you see a picture of it on the hanger and not my model) so I think I’ll have to chalk this one up as a wasted effort (although he did say that if we go bowling he will wear it) – what a shame because I think it turned out pretty cute.

Now this leaves me with one question – where’s the adult version of this top? I’d love to make a fun, retro style bowling shirt for myself!

Moral of the Story

When you first start sewing, you get a lot of advice. To this day, I still follow 90% of it, but one thing I often skip? Reading the directions before I start sewing. Yesterday I was reminded why I need to read them….. Apparently this bowling shirt is constructed like no other shirt I have ever made and is completely lined. This might not have been a huge issue if I would have read this before, but after cutting, I just didn’t have enough material to line the shirt (and after thinking about it, decided the shirt would be ‘too heavy’ if it was lined anyway) so I had to re-think the whole construction process.

After deciding how I should tackle sewing, I wound up with the shirt you see on the left. It still needs hems, button holesbuttons, and a shirt logo for the back, but the hardest parts are really finished at this point. Even though I didn’t really follow the instructions, after all, the pieces came together beautifully and easily. I think this would have been a great beginner button-down shirt design if you follow everything as outlined!

So what’s the moral of the story? Even though you may think you know what you’re doing, you may be surprised in the end. Always read your direction first – even before cutting you material!

Let’s Bowl

Whoops! With all the excitement going on here, I almost forgot to put up today’s post! Between my closest friend in the delivery room as we speak and Taylor off to freshman orientation (I can’t believe she’s almost ready for high school), lots of things have slipped my mind today! What else is making news? My new project! I finally decided on…..

The Scientific Seamstress Bowling Shirt! Actually, Easton decided that this would be the perfect project to work on so I started cutting the material last night. I had picked up this fun bowling print quite awhile ago from and (we) had decided to use a nice white Kona cotton to offset all the black. I’m hoping to find a good bowling themed image to put on the back of the shirt once it’s finished. I’ll put up all the patternfabric detail this evening – once I’m more organized and my thoughts are better collected! Pattern information is up!

Project Details:

Pattern: Scienfitic Seamstress‘ Bowling Shirt

Bowling themed cotton from

White cotton from Joann’s

Materials & Cost:

The $5 Dress

The weekend before last, my sister-in-law held her wedding reception. I was set on wearing my polka dot Mission Maxi until the day before the party, when I saw an ad for a sequined, racerback dress by Michael Kors…. and I knew I had to make that dress. After searching my local fabric stores for a stretch sequin, I turned up empty handed so I settled for a ‘special occasion fabric’ from Hancock Fabric. While it wasn’t what I really wanted, I couldn’t beat the price: With a (competitor’s) coupon and the special 15% off they tacked onto it for the 4th of July, the grand total for this dress came to a little over $5!

As for the dress itself, the only change I made to the pattern itself was to shorten it up…. substantially. Overall, I’m happy with the end results, but it’s still no substitute to the fabulous Kor’s sequin inspiration. So the real question is, which dress won out for the evening? The polka dot maxi. I’ll save this one for a fun date night.

McCall 6359

For quite some time, I stayed away from a lot of the ‘Big 4’ patterns because I found so many of them were just ill fitting. I recently started sewing with a few of them again and have had some wonderful turnouts. That is until today. During a recent sale I decided to pick up McCall 6359 – a women’s tunic with several different looks. What caught my attention was the design with the lace strapback since this looked to be very current. I raided my stash and came up with a lightly printed floral, cotton jersey that was in a fabric bundle from Fabric Mart. I had never used this material before since it looked it should be made into pajamas, but I thought it might work since it looked ‘vintage’ and thus right off the cover of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. Since the pattern says it’s ‘fitted’ across the bust, I went ahead and used my ‘appropriate’ size. Not only is this top rather large all over, but the underarms are GIGANTIC (the photos really don’t capture how big everything looks).

I didn’t even bother fixing the arm problem or even completing this top. It looks bad on and just doesn’t make me feel comfortable wearing it – I sort of feel like I’m wearing a small tent. I’m chalking this up as a wadder and getting rid of the entire pattern set completely because I think all the version are going to have some of the same issues. Instead, I think I’ll try an Ottobre, Jalie, or Burda pattern that I know I’ll like the fit of.

Project Details:

McCall’s 6359 (view C)

Floral cotton jersey from Fabric Mart

White lace from Joann’s

Materials & Cost:

Mission Maxi Version 2

With one dress under my belt, I went ahead and started a second – this one is all mine! For this dress, I used a fabulous polka dot, jersey print from Needle Nook Fabrics (I liked the way the black ‘dripped’ down into the white). The only alteration I made was taking this dress up 1 1/2 inches. As you might be able to see, it’s still too long – this particular fabric stretches more lengthwise and I’m thinking that between sewing and the weight of the material, the dress could really be taken up again (it’s not bad with heels, though). I’m thinking that I’ll let it hang on a hanger for a few days and see how much more it ‘grows’ before I take it up. Otherwise, this dress is a keeper!

Mission Maxi Version 1

Thanks to a very laid back and quiet Saturday morning, I managed to finish my first version of the Mission Maxi… and I don’t get to keep it. While test fitting the dress, Taylor walked in and liked it so much, she tried it on and we both thought it look better on her than me – so it’s hers. Now that I’ve noted what changes I’d like to make my second time around, I’m ready to start on my polka dot version. Since this is a (fairly) new pattern company and a highly ‘pinned’ pattern, I’m sure you all are ready for a review – so here it is:

Pattern Description: From the pattern: “A soft free flowing maxi dress sewing pattern with plenty of options to choose from: tank top maxi, halter top maxi, and godet back maxi. Views A and B can be made as tank tops too! The pattern booklet includes a glossary of terms, metric conversion chart, and illustrated instructions in color. Full size pattern pieces in sizes 2 to 18 accompany the booklet.”

Pattern Sizing: 2-18, I made a size 10. The finished dress is very fitted, so if you are looking for a looser fitting garment then I would recommend going up a size or two.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, definitely.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought so, although this is a fairly straightforward design. There are lots of illustrations that accompany the written directions as well as tips for working with knits on a home sewing machine so this is a good beginner pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: I think that this is a great basic pattern (wardrobe builder) than can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric or style you chose. It also sews up easily and quickly.
Dislikes: I’m not particularly fond of how the binding is appliedfinished around the neckline and arms (I’m guessing it’s designed this way so that it’s easier for the beginner to construct this dress and so that the binding works with all dress sizes). However, it doesn’t bother me enough to want to change it for future versions either.

Fabric Used: A stripe rayon jersey from

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None, in fact, I didn’t even have to take up the hem on this one (in the photo, the dress hasn’t been hemmed yet).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes.

Conclusion: A wonderful basic, wardrobe builder pattern!